What is more, the PM approaches environmental issues with the zeal of the convert. He was once a sceptic who wrote that wind turbines ‘couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding’, but he is now one of the keenest advocates of green energy in government.
His administration has already announced a ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, ten years ahead of the previous schedule. He has vowed to quadruple offshore windpower. And he wants to cut carbon emissions faster than any other country.
It is also easy to see the hand of Boris Johnson’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds, in his Damascene conversion.
She has campaigned on green issues and is friends with fellow eco-campaigners, environment minister Zac Goldsmith and his brother Ben, who sits on the board of Defra.
Boris’s father Stanley, too, may be a big influence — last year he spoke at an Extinction Rebellion rally. There is no doubt that eventual conversion to hydrogen could make sense. For a start, the oil and gas industry is proving an enthusiastic investor.
The drive towards green energy threatens fossil-fuel producers, but at least with hydrogen (as opposed to solar and wind power) they have a head start.
They already produce large quantities of the gas, which is used in the oil-refining process.
Gas companies hope the existing distribution network could be used to supply hydrogen to homes — allowing them still to make profits in a green future.
Hydrogen may also turn out to be the cheapest and least disruptive way to turn our homes carbon-neutral, requiring us simply to replace our gas boiler with a hydrogen version when the former comes to the end of its working life.
According to Worcester Bosch, which has built prototype hydrogen boilers, there is no reason why, when they are mass-produced, they should cost any more than gas boilers, which cost from around £600.
Indeed, boilers are being developed which can run on either natural gas or hydrogen, so we wouldn’t all have to replace our boilers at once.
The low-carbon alternative to hydrogen is to replace gas boilers with electric heat pumps. But these are much more expensive, with air-source pumps costing up to £8,000. That isn’t all.
Heat pumps work with lower water temperatures than gas boilers, so it could mean having to install much larger radiators or underfloor heating.
So, there are a number of reasons for taking hydrogen seriously. The trouble is that there are huge problems to overcome before it can be piped into our homes and there is no guarantee they can be solved by the date the Government wants to set for banning gas boilers.
This would be in just five years for new-build homes — even though, as yet, no UK home has a hydrogen boiler.
The biggest issue is that hydrogen doesn’t occur naturally as a free-standing chemical element. It has to be made — a process which itself consumes large amounts of energy.
There is nothing ‘green’ about the hydrogen currently being produced: almost all of it is from coal or natural gas, in a process which, globally, has been estimated to produce as many carbon emissions as Britain and Indonesia combined.
For hydrogen to be part of a zero-carbon future, the plants producing it will either have to capture the carbon emissions and pump them underground or it will have to be produced by electrolysis — a process which involves passing electric currents through water.